Part of the Yiddish Book Center's Online Lecture Series
Lecture 1 – Breaking Silences
Yiddish women writers have been known primarily as poets. Why? What
is it about poetry or about Yiddish that has encouraged this view? What
else did they write? Often, they wrote about the urge to speak, to be
heard, to refuse others’ expectations of them.
Lecture 2 – What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Women’s writing about love is often—perhaps surprisingly—erotic,
unsentimental, addressed to men, women, family, and God. We’ll look at
the ways in which women gave voice to their physical and emotional
desires in their writing.
Lecture 3 – War and Peace
Far from writing what some readers have criticized as “domestic”
prose and poetry, women confronted the horrifying news about the
Holocaust, revolution, and pogroms as these events unfolded. They also
wrote about the hope for peace and how a post-war Jewish world might
welcome the survivors and prepare a home for them and for Yiddish.
Lecture 4 – (Jewish) Civilization and Its Discontents
Writing in a variety of styles and genres ranging from midrash to
modernist poetry and prose, women confronted the changes wrought by
modernization and immigration. We will consider the ways in which
modernity was embraced, questioned, and distanced in these writings.